Snake Hunters Descend on Florida Everglades for Python-Killing Challenge - NBC Bay Area
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Snake Hunters Descend on Florida Everglades for Python-Killing Challenge

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    File image of Jeffrey Fobb, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), shows how to capture a live Burmese python during the Invasive Species Awareness Festival, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Miami. The festival is held in conjunction with the Python Challenge, in which participants register to hunt pythons for a month long competition in South Florida.

    The tens of thousands of pythons pulsating through the Everglades have essentially no natural predators in Florida to keep them in check.

    Except for right now — as more than 600 human hunters scatter across the subtropical wilderness to bag as many Burmese pythons as they can, NBC News reported.

    It's all part of Florida's Python Challenge 2016, which began in mid-January and wraps up Sunday. During this period, people who register with Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are encouraged to hunt the creatures — and for good cause.

    Scientists fear the invasive species might wipe out certain native mammals. Raccoons, rabbits, foxes and even the Florida panther could all be at risk.

    "This is the hardest thing that anybody's going to hunt," python pursuer Dusty Crum told NBC News. "It's a 2-foot needle in a 100 million-acre haystack."